We wouldn’t usually cover Finland’s Eurovision selection show, Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu (UMK), but we’re doing so this year because it has chosen UK X Factor runner-up Saara Aalto to sing each of three songs.
- Read on for reasons including our view of Saara’s 1st entry Monsters
First entry Monsters (see below) was released as a single 9/2/18 and each of the remaining two songs will be released on 16/2 and 23/2.
- Monsters by Saara Aalto, Joy Deb, Linnea Deb, Ki Fitzgerald
Between them these songwriters have hits including 2015 Eurovision Song Contest winner Heroes and our current Melodifestivalen favourite In My Cabana between them. What we like about this is that it’s captured the current style of an artist like Sia or Zara Larsson and married it with a slightly more Gothic visual imagery that’s both gay friendly and looks like band Dismissed have popped over to hang out. The reason we’re here is Aalto’s impressive live voice and it’s brilliantly showcased here.
We’ll review the remaining songs, details below, as they are released. But we’re already excited by the inclusion of 2012 Eurovision winning writer G:son (who’s already co-written the Maltese entry in this year’s show).
This selection is already proving it’s one to be reckoned with by including three of Eurovision’s most prolific writers and an artist who’s just waiting for her moment to pop.
This is a brilliant way of showcasing Aalto’s strength in depth, we love that she’s co-writing her songs and also that she chose to do this when the prospect of a UK record deal loomed large.
2. Domino by Aalto, Thomas G:son, Bobby Ljunggren, Johnny Sanchez, Will Taylor
We thought there would probably be a ballad in this selection although this is more of a mid-paced anthem than an out-and-out weepie.
First thoughts: Domino‘s an unusual song title and for good reason. We’re loving that it rhymes with, we think, ‘falling oh’ in the chorus.
We would have shied away from using the words ‘wrecking ball’ in a song like this because they carry too much baggage with them but this is so damned catchy that it gets away with it.
On repeat listens, we love the: ‘Every single part of my knocked-down heart keeps on telling me there’s no way I’m letting go’ refrain.
We still prefer Monsters but Domino would make a fine entry. We’re definitely buying Ms Aalto’s album.
Two songs in and, Finland, you’re spoiling us.
3. Queens by Aalto, Tom Aspaul, Daniel James Denis Goldie, Ash Milton
Our least favourite of the three songs although the video is again of a very high standard.
The quality of the visuals means we’ve every faith in X Factor choreographer Brian Friedman bringing out the best of whichever song is selected and creating a memorable spectacle.
Hats off to Team Aalto for bringing something new to the Eurovision selection season: weekly reveals of a very high standard in advance of a national final.
We’ll be tuning in 3/3 and voting Monsters. Given the title of this blog, it was always going to be tough to beat but we think it’s a real shot at Eurovision glory.
And, Saara, we’ll be catching up with you on the Steps tour immediately after Eurovision. Onnea!
- Picture via YouTube courtesy Saara Aalto. Watch UMK18
- Enjoyed this review? Follow its author on Twitter @NeilDurham, email firstname.lastname@example.org and check us out on Instagram and Facebook